Archive for the ‘miracles’ Category

No thought is valid if it can be explained fully as the result of irrational causes

November 24, 2009

No thought is valid if it can be explained fully as the result of irrational causes…
A train of thought loses all rational credentials, as soon as it can be shown to be wholly the result of irrational causes.

C.S.Lewis, Miracles, p.27

Long, long ago, a frog lived at the bottom of a well. One day, the frog looked up and saw a turtle from the Eastern Sea silhouetted against the sky at the edge of the well

November 17, 2009

Long, long ago, a frog lived at the bottom of a well. One day, the frog looked up and saw a turtle from the Eastern Sea silhouetted against the sky at the edge of the well. He tried to convince the turtle to join him in his wonderful well, of which he was the master. The turtle started to descend into the well, but she realized it was too narrow and she would get stuck. So she withdrew and told the frog instead about how deep and wide the sea is. The frog was left dumfounded. He could not imagine the immensity and magnitude of the sea, as he has never seen it. The idiom “frog at the bottom of a well,” or “looking at the sky from the bottom of a well,” which grew out of this Daoist fable, has come to represent a state of limited vision and even ignorance — of not being able to see outside of one’s own immediate environment.

A story by Zhuangzi (c. 369-295 BC), one of the founders of Daoism, sheds light on the ancient Chinese concept of the World (Zhuangzi, Chapter 17: “The Floods of Autumn”).

The Naturalist, life the frog, cannot conceive of miracles because they do not fit his ‘vision’ of the world. They are ‘impossible’ because he knows, as the frog ‘knew’ that the sea cannot be vast, that miracles cannot occur.

the question whether miracles occur can never be answered simply by experience

October 21, 2009

…the question whether miracles occur can never be answered simply by experience. Every event which might claim to be a miracle is, in the last resort, something presented to our senses, something seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted…If anything extraordinary seems to have happened, we can always say that we have been the victims of an illusion. If we hold a philosophy which excludes the supernatural, this is what we always shall say. What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience. It is therefore useless to appeal to experience before we have settled, as well as we can, the philosophical question.

If immediate experience cannot prove or disprove the miraculous, still less can history do so. Many people think one can decide whether a miracle occurred in the past by examining the evidence ‘according to the ordinary rules of historical inquiry’. But the ordinary rules cannot be worked until we have decided whether miracles are possible, and if so, how probable they are. For if they are impossible, then no amount of historical evidence will convince us. If they are possible but immensely improbable, then only mathematically demonstrative evidence will convince us: and since history never provides that degree of evidence for any event, history can never convince us that a miracle occurred. …The result of our historical enquiries thus depends on the philosophical views which we have been holding before we even began to look at the evidence. This philosophical question must therefore come first.

C.S.Lewis, Miracles, Geoffrey Bles, 1959, pp.11-12

The futility of Liberal ‘faith’

September 10, 2009

It is impossible to make use of electric light and radio, and, in case of illness, to claim the help of modern medical and clinical methods and at the same time believe in the New Testament’s spirits and miracles.

Bultmann, Kerygma and Mythos, p.18

1 Cor.15.17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

Harnack’s Inconsistency

September 10, 2009

We are firmly convinced that what happens in space and time is subject to the general laws of motion, and that in the sense, as an interruption of the order of nature, there can be no such things as miracles (Adolph Harnock, Das Wesen des Christenums [Leipzig, 1933], p. 17).

But he still wanted to salvage something: “That the earth on its course stood still; that a she-ass spoke; that a storm was quieted by a word, we do not belive, and we shall never again believe; but that the lame walked, the blind saw, and the deaf heard will not be so summarily dismissed as an illusion. (Harnack, What is Christianity?)

in R. Abba, Nature and Authority of the Bible, p.153

Harnack’s inconsistency is plain to true believer and atheist alike. Why believe in Christ’s miracles and deny the Old Testament miracles? If God be God, why can he do the the former and not the latter. If God is not, then neither set of miracles are really miracles but merely await a naturalistic explanation.

Liberalism tried to cosy up to the zeitgeist of Modernism whilst trying to retain a sanctuary of belief – a miserable, compromising failure.

Miracles

September 10, 2009
Miracles do not serve to convert, but to condemn.

Pascal

‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” Luke 16.31

Miracles are restoration of nature’s laws, not violation

September 10, 2009

There is a disturbing element in the world…a principle at work absolutely contrary to the principle of Law – what the bible calls sin…If miracle seems abitrary and violent, may it not be because some forcible method is necessary to redress the balance already upset by the introduction of evil into a world originally ‘very good’?…When the physician…restores the body to health, although he forcibly interrupts a series of physical processes which apart from him must have worked themselves out, he is really ranged on the side of the natural and normal…May we not say then that in the sphere of biblical miracle the real intervention is not the intervention of grace, but that of the sin that required it?

J.R.Dummelow in R.Abba, Nature and Authority of the Bible, p.138

Miracles not violations but restorations of order

September 9, 2009

Those who advocate the Christian doctrine of miracles, then, are not champions of chaos in an ordered world. Rather they are zealous for law and order of a higher type,—that of the spiritual realm, which they hold has been thrown into chaos by man’s choice of evil. They point out that sin, disease, sorrow and death are unnatural and abnormal in an ideal world, and that the great majority of the Scripture miracles had as one of their purposes the restoration of order in those regards. In the highest sense they were not violations but restorations of order.

Loraine Boetnner, Studies in Theology, 1947, p.63

Naturalism in Liberal Theology

September 9, 2009

This closedness (of the universe) means that the continuum of historical happenings cannot be rent by the interference of supernatural, transcendent powers and that therefore there is no ‘miracle’ in this sense of the word.

[Rudolf Bultmann, Kerygma and Myth: A Theological Debate, ed.Hans WernerBartsch, trans. Reginald H. Fuller, (London: Billing and Sons, 1954), p. 292.]

1. This viewpoint is passé, or should be.

2. It’s another reminder not to be wedded to the spirit of the age because his thinking, though ‘cutting edge’ and trendy then, is very much ‘widowed’ now


Naturalism in Liberal Theology

September 7, 2009

This closedness (of the universe) means that the continuum of historical happenings cannot be rent by the interference of supernatural, transcendent powers and that therefore there is no ‘miracle’ in this sense of the word.

[Rudolf Bultmann, Kerygma and Myth: A Theological Debate, ed.Hans WernerBartsch, trans. Reginald H. Fuller, (London: Billing and Sons, 1954), p. 292.]

1. This viewpoint is passé, or should be.

2. It’s another reminder not to be wedded to the spirit of the age because his thinking, though ‘cutting edge’ and trendy then, is very much ‘widowed’ now.

… modern man acknowledges as reality only such phenomena or events as are comprehensible within the framework of the rational order of the universe. He does not acknowledge miracles because they do not fit this lawful order.

[Rudolf Bultmann, Jesus Christ and Mythology, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958), p. 37.]